Friday, October 6, 2017

The Flowers of War (2011) - FFF - Through the Eyes of Cat

By Cat


Number Rolled: 148
Movie Name/Year: The Flowers of War (2011)
Tagline:  In extraordinary times, ordinary people become heroes.
Genre: Drama, History, Romance
Length: 146 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Beijing New Picture Film Co., Edko Films, New Picture Company
Producers: Chaoying Deng, William Kong, David Linde, Leo Shi Young, Weiping Zhang
Director: Yimou Zhang
Writers: Heng Liu, Geling Yan
Actors: Christian Bale, Ni Ni, Huang Tianyuan, Zhang Xinyi, Xiting Han, Doudou Zhang, Dawei Tong, Atsuro Watabe
Stunt Doubles: Fatih Ugurlu 

Blurb from Netflix: A Westerner finds refuge with a group of women in a church during Japan's rape of Nanking in 1937. Posing as a priest, he attempts to lead the women to safety.

I had to watch something completely different after watching this movie in order to put myself back together again. Frankly, I’m surprised it didn’t win more awards – but then, there were some heavy hitters at the box office in 2011. I’m not sure what else was going on in China at the time, but the film did apparently crack the top 10 highest grossing Chinese movies of all time.

Set during the time of conflicts leading up to World War II, as Japan invaded China, this movie doesn’t pull any punches in regards to the brutality and destruction of war. You’ll find no candy-coating here. There were bodies everywhere, and people dropping like flies. 

If you have trouble watching graphic things of that nature, or are easily triggered by violence against women, this movie is not for you. 

That being said, none of the graphic content was unwarranted. You won’t find fountains of blood here. The scenes were tasteful and overall the movie was visually stunning, through both the ravaged city of Nanjing and the stark contrast of rich colors in the scenes centered on the church. 

I was buying what this film was selling. While the movie was based on a novel, it did give me pause to wonder if this was someone’s real memoir. The author wasn’t old enough to have lived through the film’s scenario. It feels entirely plausible that it could have happened to a relative of hers; however, that’s purely speculation on my part. 

The cast was absolutely enchanting – especially the actress that played Yu Mo, Ni Ni (Back in Time, Enter the Warriors Gate, Suddenly Seventeen). This was her movie debut, and I think she nailed it. She embodied such elegance and sultry essence.

I was rather surprised to see Christian Bale (3:10 to Yuma, Out of the Furnace, The Big Short), but he quickly erased any doubts I might have had. 

This was one hell of an emotional roller-coaster. I’m glad I was along for the ride. Against the horrific backdrop, the beauty of hope shines more brightly. I was left wanting more of the story, and yet satisfied with the ending all the same.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this film. Don't forget to have some tissues handy, just in case.

Speech Available: Mandarin
Subtitles Available: English, Spanish

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 42%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 73%
Metascore – 46/100
Metacritic User Score – 7.1/10
IMDB Score – 7.6/10

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5

Movie Trailer: 

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